Unions meet Istanbul governor for May Day rally in Taksim
A group of people gather in southern province of Adana in a rally demanding their right to march in May 1 labor day celebrations. DHA PhotoA senior Turkish labor leader has said thousands of union members are determined to celebrate International Labor Day in Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square on May 1, despite a possible ban by the authorities.
Speaking ahead of crunch talks with the city’s governor April 14 head of the Confederation of Public Laborers’ Unions, Nami Özgen, said it was a “must” for his members to march in Taksim, as there was an emotional commitment to the square.
Özgen told the Anadolu Agency that May 1 maintained its importance for labor activists after the 1977 May Day massacre, where 36 people were killed after gunfire from unknown assailants.
The site in central Istanbul was off-limits to May Day events for over three decades. Gatherings were again permitted in 2010, but last year saw the Turkish government prevent the rally from taking place, due to extensive construction work at the site.
Labor unions had insisted on marching to Taksim Square, but were stopped by security forces; unions are facing a potential ban by the authorities again this year.